Thursday, 3.7.2008: Cambodian Official Asks Thai Politicians and Historians Not to Twist the Facts

Posted on 4 July 2008. Filed under: Week 567 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 567

“Phnom Penh: A Cambodian official urged Thai politicians and historians not to twist the facts about the history of the Preah Vihear Temple, which is being proposed to be officially listed as a World Heritage Site.

“In an interview with a Thai reporter from the Public Broadcasting Service TV [PBS] on the morning of 2 July 2008, Mr. Ho Vandy, the president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said that the Thai government must listen to the majority voices, but not to minority voices opposed to the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site; and Thai politicians and historians must accept the truth, but not to twist the history, because it is important to maintain the relations and the cooperation between both countries.

“He added, ‘If Thai politicians and historians do not accept the facts, it will break the relations between both countries. When talking honestly with one another and acknowledging the facts of history, being a good neighbors and having good human relations will be of benefit to everything – both in tourism and in the economy of the two countries.’ He continued, ‘If Thailand has a good, human mind by accepting the facts, both countries and people will be peaceful.’

“He went on to say, ‘If Thailand still tries to hide the real history and to twist it, there will be endless difficulties and disagreements for the next generation.’

“The Preah Vihear Temple was legally declared by the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be under the sovereignty of Cambodia on 15 June 1962, by ordering Thailand to deliver the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia, to withdraw its troops and people from the temple, and to give back to Cambodia all ancient artifacts taken from the temple.

“Mr. Ho Vandy asserted that the Preah Vihear Temple was already identified by the International Court of Justice in The Hague as belonging to Cambodia, based on its history. If Thailand helps to promote the temple to be listed as a World Heritage Site, there will be much benefit for both countries in developing tourism, because when the temple is listed, people around the world will be interested in visiting this temple, and they will spend money for Cambodians and for Thais living in the bordering provinces near Preah Vihear.

“Dr. Ros Chantraboth, a historian and vice-president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that in Siem [Thailand], in text books from Grade 1 to Grade 9, there are only two sentences which speak about Cambodia, but those books speak a lot about the history and other things of Laos, of Burma, of Vietnam, and of Malaysia. He continued, ‘Siem seems to pretend that there was no presence of Cambodia in Indochina.’

“He added that this misunderstanding is because of Siem articles writing that the Preah Vihear Temple belongs to its country and it is because of the lack of Siam publication about the reality of the history, and Siamese researchers always think that “this temple belongs to Siem.”

“He went on to say that in Samut Prakan Province, southeast of Bangkok, the Siem government built a park named ‘Thai ancient monuments’ or ‘Muang Boran Thai’ where all temples existing in Thailand are built in copies, including the Preah Vihear Temple, for Siamese and for researchers [and tourists] to visit.

[Actually, doing some Internet research in Thai and in English, only the term ‘เมืองโบราณ – Muang Boran’ – could be seen an all sites I found (I may have missed some, though); none uses the term ‘เมืองโบราณไทย’ – ‘Thai Ancient City.’ This Ancient City is often considered to be the world’s biggest outdoor museum, covering about 80 hectares/320 acres of land in a shape similar to the country of Thailand, with more than 100 original size or scaled down models of historical monuments. It was designed and funded my the private funds of a rich Thai businessman, Lek Viriyapan (1914 – 2000). Before the Ancient City could be built, its founder and his research team traveled to all buildings to be included, and for many years these studies were published in the Muang Boran Journal. The park includes also a replica of the Preah Vihear temple, and the journal has photos, several of them showing the Cambodian flag, and the inscription over the entrance in big Khmer letters: ‘ប្រាសាទ​ព្រះវិហារ’ [Prasat Preah Vihear] and below, in smaller letters in English, ‘Preah Vihear Temple’ – and three Cambodian flags are clearly seen on the picture of the stairs leading up to the temple – there is no doubt that the Ancient City in clear pictures describes Preah Vihear as under Cambodian authority. The temple of Phimai in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima is another example of Khmer culture (and in some of the sites visited also described as such). The ‘Ancient City’ is in no way leaving any doubt that this is Cambodian culture and territory, but, like Phimai, there are many other historical sites in present Thailand, showing the former extension of Khmer culture. – Editor]

“Dr. Ros Chantraboth asserted, ‘The Ancient City was constructed in 1972, ten years after Siem lost the hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague that legally established that the Preah Vihear Temple was to be under Khmer sovereignty. He added, ‘In reality, Siem has never used this to explain it to its people.’

“He recalled that the International Court of Justice in The Hague decided to deliver the sovereignty of the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia, based on 1904 and 1907 maps that were drawn by France for Cambodia at that time, and those maps were not contested by the Thai government at that period. The 1962 verdict gave ten years to Siem to appeal, in case it found new evidence proving that the Preah Vihear Temple belongs to Thailand, but when the deadline was over on 15 June 1972, Thailand did not appeal against the verdict until today.

“According to Article 10 of the condition of the World Heritage Committee, world heritage listings only include cultural heritage, they do not include borders of countries; and both countries have still to negotiate about the [unsolved] border issues.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4631, 3.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 3 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1683, 3.7.2008

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Samak Talked with Samdech Hun Sen More than Half an Hour via Telephone about the Preah Vihear Temple Issue [according to Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the government spokesperson, and he said that Mr. Samak asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to calm the Cambodian people]
  • The Royal Government [of Cambodia] Welcomes the Creation of an Investment Bank [by Tong Yang Investment] to Attract Capital from South Korea
  • Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL]: Security in the Election Campaign Is Better than in 2003


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #190, 3.7.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general] Ms. Mu Sochua Appealed to the Prime Minister’s Wife to Check Again the Dispute [that led to the destruction of houses and to the eviction of people from their land in Chhouk District, Kampot] between People and Military Officials


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #39, 3.7.2008

  • ILO: Working Conditions at Garment Factories Are Still Good


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6387, 3.7.2008

  • Dr. Keo Iev, Director of Oral Cleansing Water Company [producing for the Cambodian Red Cross], Was Shot by Robbers and a Gold Box Was Taken, when He Returned from the Olympic Market [he is in a very serious condition, because the bullet went into his left eye and broke through his head – 2 July 2008]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3502, 3.7.2008

  • Vietnamese Authorities Released Tim Sakhan Silently [on 30 June 2008, who had been defrocked on accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he is accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia, who was jailed in Vietnam], but They Have Not Sent Him Back to Cambodia [and when traveling during one month, he has to be accompanied by the Vietnamese authorities]
  • Hearing Verdict of Ieng Sary’s Appeal, where He Requested to Be Out of Detention, Will Be Announced by the ECCC on 3 July 2008


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4631, 3.7.2008

  • Cambodian Official Asks Thai Politicians and Historians Not to Twist the Facts
  • The National Cultural and Social Moral Center Plans to March [supporting the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple, with about 3,000 participants] to the Thai Embassy
  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL – Deploys Nearly 100,000 Election Observers to the Twenty Four Cities and Provinces
  • Agreement Protecting Cambodian-Japanese Investors Will Be Put in Practice in Late July
  • Prohibition of Marriages to Foreign Countries Will Be Lifted Soon [according to an official of the Ministry of Interior]
  • Seventy Cambodian Youth Delegates Will Visit Japan Next Week [as part of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESEYS)]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3349, 3.7.2008

  • Many Challenges for the Election Result because of Low Education and Illiteracy

Have a look at the last editorial – Preah Vihear still in the headlines – more information about Thailand’s and Cambodia’s documents.

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